On Friday morning, three men mounted their motorcycles in West Reading, revved their engines and took off.
It wasn’t anything new for Glen A. Houck, Richard W. Storms and Victor M. Frederick III. The three have been avid motorcycle riders for decades, and each is a member of the Hiram Scottish Riders Motorcycle Club.
Cruising down the road atop their Harley-Davidsons is normal for them.
But the journey they set out on Friday wasn’t. It’s something altogether different.
Houck, Storms and Frederick have embarked on a 30-day motorcycle adventure that will traverse 49 states and two Canadian provinces. The 11,200-mile trip will allow them to see the country, to enjoy the freedom of the open road.
It will also give them a chance to help some special local children.
The three men are undertaking the long, grueling ride as a fundraiser for the Children’s Dyslexia Center of Reading located at the Scottish Rite Cathedral.
“We are doing this for the children,” Houck said. “This is a cause that we all believe in and we have seen firsthand how the center has helped children be successful over the years.”
The philanthropic mission of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, an organization of which all three men are longtime members, is to support programs that help children struggling with dyslexia.
Dyslexia, which affects about 10% of children, makes it hard to connect sounds to letter symbols and can affect the way children learn to read and spell. The dyslexia center offers free programs that help children with the disorder overcome those challenges.
It costs $5,000 for each student to attend the Children’s Dyslexia Center of Reading, a fee the Scottish Rite members foot so parents don’t have to pay anything.
Through their ride, Houck, Storms and Frederick hope to raise more than $50,000, an amount that would allow the center to provide services for the 11 kids currently on the center’s waiting list.
“The cause is the reason why I wanted to do this,” Storms said. “It’s really important to me that we offer this program to as many kids as possible. We want these kids to get the services they need so they can be successful.”
Frederick said he’s hopeful the community will help make the ride a success. He explained the two previous times he set out on cross-country rides to benefit the center he was pleasantly surprised by the support he received.
The 76-year-old, who was involved in helping create the learning center, said that shortly after the center opened he spoke with a young boy who elaborated on what it did for him. It made Frederick want to do more.
He decided to combine his two passions of community service and motorcycles, so he founded the Hiram Scottish Riders Motorcycle Club. Then he came up with the idea to do a month-long, cross-country trip to raise funds for the center.
“It was all just to help these children,” said Frederick of Driftwood, Cameron County. “Then after I did the first ride and visited many of the other learning centers across the country, that just encouraged me to keep on doing this because the appreciation of these children is just absolutely amazing.”
A new adventure
This is the first cross-country journey for Houck and Storms. While both men have traveled long distances on their motorcycles before, they admitted this trip will be unlike anything they have ever done.
“This is a great challenge,” Houck said.
The Birdsboro resident said that when Frederick approached him about doing a third ride for the center, he knew he had to say yes. He is also aware that Frederick wants to pass along his knowledge of the road to people younger than himself so they can keep the tradition going.
“I just hope my body holds out,” the 63-year-old said with a chuckle. “I know that when I get home I probably won’t want to get back on my motorcycle for quite some time.”
The men, who will be stopping by 12 Scottish Rite learning centers on their route, will have a lot of ground to cover in a short amount of time. Some days they will be traveling as many as 500 miles and other days they will only be riding 300 miles.
Frederick explained this will give them an opportunity to rest and give them some flexibility should they run into any issues or inclement weather along the way.
At night, they will hunker down in hotels and motels along the route. They will be paying for all the traveling expenses out of their own pocket so that 100% of donations go directly to the center.
Frederick said the trip isn’t for the faint of heart.
“On this ride we will run into rainstorms, excessive heat, tornadoes and hail at least once,” he said. “But the beauty of America just amazes me and the main thing to remember is that we are doing this all for the children.”
Storms said he knows there are bound to be some hiccups along the way.
“At the same time the unknown is what kind of makes it fun,” he said. “It’s a challenge and I have some concerns, but at the same time I don’t let it dominate my thoughts. I just choose to focus on the positive.”
The Gilbertsville resident said he’s looking forward to traveling to sights that he has never seen before like riding the Beartooth Pass, the highest vehicle crossing in Wyoming that offers panoramic views of Rock Creek Canyon.
“Seeing the country from the seat of a motorcycle is one of the best ways that you can do it,” the 53-year-old said. “We will do our best to stay off the beaten path and visit a lot of the local restaurants when we’re in town so that we can get a feel for what this country is all about.”
If you want to contribute
Those wanting to support the cross-country journey can make donations directly to the Children’s Dyslexia Center of Reading. The basic sponsorship begins at a penny per mile or $112 for the entire trip. But any amount is appreciated.
Checks can be made out to Children’s Dyslexia Center of Reading and sent to 430 S. Seventh Ave., West Reading, PA 19611.
Source: Berkshire mont